Best of 2013 Photo Contest

The Best of 2013 photo contest is underway on the Michigan is Amazing facebook fan page. There are 49 amazing photos to enjoy from many talented photographers from all over this beautiful state. Check out the album and vote for your favorites!

Click here to vote: Michigan is Amazing Best of 2013 Photo Contest

The winner will receive a beautiful Michigan-themed picture frame made by Scott Snow from Michigan in Metal!

Michigan Picture Frame 4x6 in Rustic Copper

Michigan Picture Frame 4×6 in Rustic Copper

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Michigan Rocks!

For my birthday, my husband bought me a rock tumbler. So, for a couple weeks my family and I spent time collecting rocks along Lake Huron.

I started up the tumbler and have been patiently waiting while the first step of coarse grit smooths my collection of rocks.

I cleaned and inspected everything tonight. My Michigan rocks already look amazing! Here they are – all ready for step 2.

Michigan Rocks 1st Grind

Michigan Rocks 1st Grind

I washed and replaced them along with medium grit.
Now, I wait until I can take another peek at them in a few days.

Camping at Tawas Point State Park

I just returned from 10 days of camping at Tawas Point State Park. It was a great vacation with my family! If you have been to Tawas Point State Park, you know what a little slice of Heaven looks like…and if you haven’t been there, you really should check it out. The campground is really nice and we had a great site that was frequented by many pairs of Orioles and many other beautiful song birds. The Lighthouse is open for tours and there is a small gift shop where you can pick up a shirt or a great picture frame by Michigan in Metal. Between the 2 playgrounds and all of the biking and swimming, the kiddos were exhausted each night.

Tawas Point Lighthouse

Tawas Point Lighthouse


There are beautiful sunrises over Lake Huron or if you are not an early bird (like me), you can watch the sunset over Tawas Bay.
Tawas Bay Sunset

Tawas Bay Sunset


The beach has beautiful sand and the lake is quite shallow along this part of the shore which makes for great swimming. The wind on Tawas Point is great and lures many kiteboarders who are seeking wind to fill their kites. I got to meet Mark Kuban, the owner of Motor City Kiteboarding and watch him, my husband, and many others ride the wind and waves. These guys and gals are really entertaining to watch and are such a friendly group.
Mark Kuban of Motor City Kiteboarding

Mark Kuban of Motor City Kiteboarding


Tawas Beach Kiteboarding

Tawas Beach Kiteboarding

And when you need a great meal and a friendly smile, just stop by to see Joe at The Tawas Beach Grill right there by the beach for great coneys and ribs!

So, it was a great vacation and we are already counting the days until we can go back for more sun, sand, wind, and water.

Pure Michigan Guest Post

A few weeks ago I was asked to write a guest post for Pure Michigan and today it went live. It is such a great honor to be part of the great Pure Michigan site. Here is the link to the Michigan is Amazing guest post on the Pure Michigan blog:

http://www.michigan.org/blog/guest-blogger/michigan-is-amazing-five-stunning-photos-that-showcase-why/

Featured Photographer – Tony Baiardi

Tony Baiardi has been enjoying photography for 47 years. He started with his first camera as an eight years old. For the past 25 years, he has been using Canon cameras – first film then digital. Tony self-taught and then began taking digital photography classes to master the art of digital photography and photoshop. Tony says, “I use mac, photoshop CS6, and am able to do about anything. I try to keep my work as is out of the camera, but sometimes on site that one shot you want needs a bit of tweaking, with a full size sensor unit, clear crisp shot, well lit, you can do about anything you need.”

Photography is both a hobby and a profession for Tony. “What started as a hobby many years ago has been a job for some time now. Hard to call it work, though weddings and up-front paid shoots definitely are work. Very stressful if you’re a perfectionist as I tend to think I am. Landscapes are often wet, freezing, windy, countless hours in the field, but I truly love the result. Very seldom do I go to a location and come home without one wall hanger.” Tony always has a camera with him while on the road, but must be moved to take the shot. Tony’s favorite things to photograph are, nature, kids and babies, glamour, and sporting events. Tony also photographs weddings, high school seniors and commercial work. Tony also does photo touch-ups and complete photo restorations.

LAKE TOPAZ self portrait

Cottage color 22x15

Mackinac winter street 2009

Tahquamenon Falls poster winner

Petoskey Pier fall18x12

Tony has been a home designer/builder for 37 years – all in Michigan. He has done projects from Mackinac Island to Northville (custom homes mostly with some commercial). Tony is married to a great gal, Denise, and they have two kids, Nicole and Richard. Tony also has two awesome grandkids, Sidney and Joe. Tony and Denise have a cottage up north off Burt Lake, which at times is Tony’s base for photography. Located 28 miles below the Mackinac Bridge – he has a great location. They have traveled on the great lakes at roughly the center of the state from east to west, all the area north on the water. Tony says, “We love the water and I will never leave this state just for that. The great lakes are priceless. We have traveled many areas around the world and I always love coming home.”

Tony’s favorite things about Michigan are, “The four seasons and water, the Great Lakes are priceless, and the fall colors are second to no other state. The Upper Peninsula has such great vast areas of nothing or nobody – total nature.” Tony also loves the sand dunes, mini mountains, rivers, golf, culture, restaurants, museums, copper mines, and the history on how our white pines were stripped from our soils to build USA.

Tony’s top 5 places to visit are:
1. The Great Lakes
2. Grand Marais Dunes
3. Two-tracking through the Huron mountains in the fall
4. Mackinac Island in the off-season
5. Isle Royale

To see more of Tony’s work, you can visit his website: http://imagesbyanthonynet.zenfolio.com/f537744488

Featured Photographer – Lj Long

Lj Long has always enjoyed photography and had a dark room in his parents’ basement as a teenager. Years later, with the coming of digital photography, he has renewed his passion for photography. Lj uses Nikon equipment exclusively and is currently enrolled in The New York Institute of Photography. Although photography is currently a hobby that sells the occasional print, Lj aspires to grow into a business later in life. Lj’s favorite things to photograph are nature, anything around the lake (Gun Lake) is good, Lake Michigan, lighthouses, beaches, motorsports, cars, and bikes. Lj had a blast with fall foliage last year and also enjoys photographing bikes racing on the frozen lake.

Gun Lake Studio - Lj Long

Gun Lake Studio - Lj Long 2

Currently, Lj’s full time job is working as a Field Service Representative for Square D Services, a nationwide service company in the Electrical Industry. Lj specializes in power distribution equipment, “things like transformers, switchgear, circuit breakers and other fun stuff like that. My job affords me a great deal of travel around the state which is good for my hobby. Other hobbies include British sports cars. I restored an old Triumph which is a lot of fun. Naturally, living on the lake pretty much demands that you enjoy everything about it all summer long [including] boats, swimming, and time with friends.”

Lj’s favorite thing about Michigan is the abundance that Michigan offers. It has everything anyone could ever want, four wonderful seasons, beautiful scenery, the lakes, and wonderful cities. “Lake Michigan is like going to the ocean, only better. The list goes on and on.” Lj describes Michigan, “Imagine a place with fresh water oceans, the most incredible dunes. Endless forests. Incredible inland lakes. Now picture a city that looks like it was ravaged by war, broken down abandoned buildings, burned out corpses of cars, urban blight and decay. All of these things offer incredible photo opportunities.”

Lj’s top 5 places to visit in Michigan are:
1. Detroit
2. Mackinac Island
3. Pictured Rocks Lakeshore
4. Silver lake
5. Grand Haven

You can view more of Lj’s beautiful work on his facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gun-Lake-Studio/165970600193597

Featured Photographer – Neil Weaver

Twelve years ago, Neil Weaver ventured out to the lake with his 35mm camera. A few months later he purchased a Canon Rebel X and some Fujichrome Velvia 35mm slide film and fell in love with photography. In 2006, Neil reluctantly went to a digital SLR and became a believer almost immediately. Today, Neil uses a Nikon D300, go-to lenses include the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 and Sigma 10-20mm and 70-200mm Lenses, and an Induro Tripod.

Neil is just as passionate about Michigan as he is about photography and he wants his photos to demonstrate that. Neil loves shooting wide sweeping landscape photos of our Great Lakes shorelines. “I am 100% self-taught, learning through trial and error and a lot of reading. One important thing I have learned is that you often have to experience some discomfort to get the best photos. What I mean by that is that I often get my best photos by getting out of bed early or staying out late past the sunset, shooting in freezing temperatures, standing in frigid water to get up close to a waterfall, or laying on my stomach in the wet grass to get the best angle.”

Regarding the choice to begin selling his prints, Neil said, “photography began as a hobby, but a few years ago I decided to start up a website and sell my prints and things went well. This year has been the best yet, even with the economy the way it is, more people are hanging my prints in their homes and offices. I love the business side of photography almost as much as taking the photos, I really enjoy working with customers.”

Neil was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie where he lived until 2005. Neil now lives in the capital area with his wife Kristina, two-year-old, Brady, and nine-month-old, Paige. Neil and his family love to travel all over our beautiful state and enjoy all it has to offer. Neil loves the diverse natural features in Michigan, its great lakes, thousands of inland lakes, beautiful rivers, dunes, sandy beaches, rocky shores, and waterfalls.

Neil’s top 5 places to visit in Michigan are:
1. Pictured Rocks
2. Porcupine Mountains
3. Sleeping Bear Dunes
4. Au Sable River
5. Ludington State Park

You can visit Neil’s website or facebook page to see many more of his beautiful images.

www.NeilWeaverPhotography.com
www.facebook.com/neilweaverphotography